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Pedersoli .50 Missouri River Hawken - With 1-in-24 Twist Bullet Barrel
Pedersoli .54 Rocky Mountain Hawken - With 1-in-65 Twist Round Ball Barrel
In my honest opinion...the two finest modern copies of the so-called "Hawken Style" rifles ever offered for today's traditional muzzleloading rifleman are the two rifles shown directly above - the Missouri River Hawken and the Rocky Mountain Hawken. Both are produced by Davide Pedersoli & Co., of Brescia, Italy. These are the two traditionally styled rifles I tend to shoot the most these days. BOTH are capable of exceptional accuracy...and...EACH fills a specific niche for me.
The company offers the 30-inch barreled Missouri River Hawken in choice of .45 or .50 caliber. The .45 model features a moderately slow 1-in-47 rate of rifling twist, with .009" deep grooves. It has been designed for shooting a patched round ball. The .50 caliber Missouri River Hawken is an entirely different beast. The rifle in this caliber features a much faster 1-in-24 rate of rifling twist, with shallow .004" deep grooves. The .50 caliber version of this model is definitely a true bore-size conical bullet rifle. On the other hand, the 34 3/4-inch barreled Rocky Mountain Hawken comes in .54 caliber only - with a slow 1-in-65 rate of rifling twist with deep .011" grooves. This is definitely a patched round ball rifle.
The workmanship that goes into crafting these two different Hawken models in no way takes a back seat to any other Hawken ever built - in the past or today! In fact, when it comes to fit and finish...and to the quality of component parts used ... the Pedersoli Hawken rifles shown here will challenge the finest custom-built Hawken rifles with price tags easily two to three times the cost of these two exquisite "production" rifles.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to handle and examine a number of the original rifles built by Sam & Jake Hawken. I grew up just 30 miles from where the St. Louis Hawken rifles were built - and I actually once owned and used an original lighter .44 Hawken "Local Rifle" to take a whitetail doe. Perhaps it was that hunt, 45 years ago, which resulted in my high esteem for rifles of Hawken design.
I've had the .50 bullet shooting Missouri River Hawken shown here for about 9 years, and have likely put close to a thousand rounds through it ... and the rifle has shot very well with a number of bore-sized conical bullets ... and it also shoots very well with saboted bullets. This would be the ideal rifle for the muzzleloading hunter looking for old style looks ... but which is capable of modern performance. Here are links to a couple of articles on loading and shooting this rifle -
Shooting A Traditional Lead Conical Bullet...
Shooting A Modern Saboted Bullet...
If you are looking for a true round ball rifle that can be stoked up for the hardest hitting load possible with a patched round ball ... the .54 caliber Rocky Mountain Hawken is definitely the rifle for you. With the longer barrel, this rifle weighs in at just an ounce or two shy of 10 pounds.
This hefty built half-stock can be stoked with 120-grains of GOEX FFg black powder, behind either a patched .530" or .535" ball, and recoil is still very tolerable. I've shot both diameter balls out of this rifle - using lubed .020" thick cotton patching with the .530" ball and .018" thick patching with the .535" ball. And, quite honestly, there's not a world of difference in the way they loaded ... or shot. Here's a link to an article on building a load for the .54 Rocky Mountain Hawken...and how the rifle and load performed on that giant whitetail doe shown in the above right photo -
Earlier this fall, I had taken both the .50 Missouri River Hawken and the .54 Rocky Mountain Hawken with me to the range - to tweak how they were sighted for the fast approaching big game seasons. That was the first time I had shot both rifles during the same range session...and likewise the first time I had broken them down for cleaning at the same time. Both models are built with heavy 1-inch diameter barrels. With both stock assemblies...and both barrels...laying there on my cleaning table, I couldn't resist the urge to check if the barrels could be swapped back and forth.
Well, Davide Pedersoli's manufacturing for these rifles is so precise...the barrels fit either stock assembly like a glove. The photo directly above shows the .50 caliber Missouri River Hawken barrel in the stock assembly of the .54 Rocky Mountain Hawken. Since the company offers either version in choice of walnut or curly maple, I kind of figured the stocks/barrels would be interchangeable.
So...if (or more like when) you see the longer open sighted .54 barrel with the walnut stock...or the shorter, and Hi-Lux Malcolm scoped, .50 caliber barrel on the maple stock, know that we did not get two new rifles - we're just utilizing the interchageability of the stocks and barrels. Which brings up a question...
We're curious ... "If you had just one choice of barrel and stock ...would it be the .50 caliber bullet shooting barrel with the walnut or curly maple stock...or the .54 patched round ball barrel with either the curly maple or walnut stock?" - Toby Bridges
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Traditional Muzzleloader Hunting
This blog is made possible by Davide Pedersoli & Co., Dixie Gun Works, Traditions Firearms, Green Mountain Rifle Barrel Co., October Country, and Hodgdon/GOEX powders. The topics presented here will be devoted entirely to shooting and hunting with muzzleloading guns of pre- 1860's design.